Snow-Blind to Our Own Talents

~by Shannon Modrell

Are you snow-blind to your own talents?

In the 80’s my husband Brent worked for a family who owned a popular restaurant chain in Houston TX.  J.R., the man who trained Brent for his managerial position, taught him to start each day by walking the perimeter of the restaurant to look for anything amiss that might need to be addressed: an overlooked soda can sitting on a ledge, a board coming loose, dead flowers in the landscaping, etc.

He stressed the importance of seeing with fresh eyes each day because of our human tendency to get snow-blind to those things that are in the environment that we become accustomed to. Brent jokes that after a few weeks of training he used to rib J.R. because he often caught things that even J.R. had overlooked.

This is a great analogy for what we tend to do with our talents and creative gifts.

We are often completely snow-blind to the true magnitude of our special gifts because we are so close to them.  They are so much a part of us and feel so normal to us that they just flat seem insignificant!

All my life I thought everyone could sing acappella because it came very naturally to me.  I sang to myself constantly and automatically everywhere I went: the grocery store, work, home, the mall – everywhere.  It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that people started commenting on how amazed they were that I could do this, always declaring “That’s such a hard thing to do!”  I would think “What on earth are they talking about?  It’s the easiest thing in the world – everyone can do this!”  Finally, after hearing it from enough people I started realizing that, no, not everyone could easily sing acappella.

But as much of a revelation as this was, I still thought that surely all singers could sing acappella.  After all, I was a singer, so I thought that must be why it came so easily to me and not everyone else.  But in time I found out that no, not all singers – even great singers – can sing acappella.  I’d always taken it for granted because it’s so much a part of who I am.  It took an outside perspective for me to see it as anything but an every day run-of-the-mill activity.  (Though I do maintain that everyone can sing if properly taught (yes, even you!), not everyone has the same set of abilities when it comes to singing – but that’s another article!)

I know a young man from a very chaotic and dysfunctional family – we’ll call him Steve.  Steve has never done well in school, has ADHD and struggles with severe depression.  Besides being quite intelligent and creative he also has the ability to see – literally see – complicated math problems and their solutions in his mind’s eye as if they are written out on a screen.  It comes so easily to him he doesn’t understand how others don’t see math as he does.  Low self esteem plus the ease in which it comes to him keep him from seeing it for what it is: a very special ability that not everyone has.

Another thing about Steve; he gets so focused on traits and abilities in others that he does not have, (good grades, good social skills, organization), that he is snow-blind to his own gifts.

Most of us do this with our own talents. Has someone ever expressed how impressed they are at an ability they see in you or with something you did and your immediate thought was “What?  There’s nothing special about that!  All I did was….”  Has it maybe happened several times throughout your life in regards to the same ability or set of abilities?  Or do people ever say “You’d make a good_____!” or “You’d be great at_______!” and you immediately wonder how in the world their judgment could be so off-base?

Is it at all possible that they are actually on to something?  Something you cannot see?

We all have multiple talents and abilities.  And I know – I KNOW – that all of us have talents and abilities that still lie dormant.  And they are often connected to those things we do every day and take completely for granted.

 It doesn’t even have to be anything grand or flashy – I know people who’s very being makes others feel comfortable just as they are. Whenever they are around, others just feel a sense of emotional safety and feel like they are accepted for who and what they are and that they can just be themselves.   That is a gift!  And it just emanates from them naturally without their doing anything!
So what are some of the things that come easily to you, things that you often don’t give a second thought?  Maybe even things you’ve done since childhood.
The next time someone comments on an ability they see in you and your first thought is “Are you crazy?!?”, what if you stepped back from that thought and considered that they just might be seeing the seeds of greatness within you….
In love and support
Shannon

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  Nationally known award winning vocalist, composer and speaker Shannon Modrell travels the US singing music to Encourage, Empower and Inspire. Her one-of-a-kind performances receive standing ovations on stages at international conferences and holistic events from coast to coast.

If you want to be Encouraged, Empowered and Inspired to live the creative fire within you, sign up for  a FRE*E subscription to her ezine Gifted U by emailing Shannon@ShannonModrellmusic.com .  Visit Shannon’s website at: www.ShannonModrell.com